Welcome to Offside News, a nice bi-weekly blast of CaughtOffside action. Itâ€™ll be coming every Friday, taking a look at the previous weekâ€™s biggest Premiership stories, and Monday, waxing nostalgic about the weekendâ€™s action and post-match whinging.
Julius Rosenwald, a US merchant and philanthropist, once said, â€œDo not be
fooled into thinking that because a man is rich, he is necessarily smart.
There is ample proof to the contraryâ€. While Rosenwald will have never heard
of the likes of David Beckham (he died in 1932), this little quote helps us
run nicely into our first storyâ€¦
â€¦Lucas Neill has come out fighting after claims that his decision to snub
Liverpool for West Ham was based on money.
“People have questioned why I signed for West Ham and not Liverpool but I
don’t understand thatâ€, good-day-ed a clearly pumped up Neill.
â€œAt no stage did the issue of money enter into the footballing decision I
was makingâ€ he said, before the press conference had to be stopped
momentarily while the gathered crowd rolled around the floor laughing.
â€œYes, I want to be secure, like everyone, but more importantly I want to
know that I am going to be content, happy and playing football every weekâ€,
he fumed, as Offside News pondered whether in Australian, â€˜secureâ€™ and
â€˜stinking richâ€™ are the same thing. â€œSome of the figures that have been
mentioned are just ridiculous and the whole thing was blown way out of
“If people want to insult my decision to play for West Ham, then they are
insulting some of the greatest players the game has produced, including the
three men who led England to the World Cup in 1966”, he concluded,
presumably unaware that heâ€™s not signing for the West Ham of the 60â€™s,
before grabbing his boxing gloves and challenging anyone in the room to last
twelve rounds against him.
Offside News considered taking him on, but realised that if he hit us with
his wallet, weâ€™d never get up.
Meanwhile, Neillâ€™s fellow countryman, Harry Kewell has spoken about his
desire to get fit in time for Liverpoolâ€™s Champions League clash with
Kewell, who managed to turn down the lure of West Ham when he signed for the
Reds in 2003, has been dogged by injuries in recent years, though has
mastered the knack of returning to fitness whenever a big game, a World Cup
or a major cup final looms.
“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had a look at the Barcelona gamesâ€
announced Kewell, to the surprise of absolutely nobody.
“To be honest, I’d be happy to play against anyone right now, because it’s
been so long since I wore the red shirtâ€, said the star, who made a famous
comeback from injury to feature in the 2005 Champions League final in
Having been forced to withdraw through injury from that game, as well as
last seasons F.A. Cup final, with his side behind on both occasions, Kewell
has been labelled a bottler by the some, but is confident he can put his
â€˜injuryâ€™ worries behind him.
â€œI know I can still be successful here. All I have to do is get myself fully
fit again and get games under my belt. But the Barca games are going to be
massive and I would like to play a partâ€, he said, again, before hobbling
out of the press conference, just as the questions became a little tricky,
deserting his teams mates in the process, in typical Kewell style.
Liverpool travel to the Camp Nou on February 21st, but speculation this week
has been rife surrounding the long term future of Barcelonaâ€™s most prized
asset, Ronaldinho, who, if reports are to be believed, he eyeing up a move
â€œIt is a great club and it is always good to know that your work is being
seen and that people appreciate itâ€, said the buck toothed Brazilian, while
throwing flirtatious glances across Europe in the direction of a certain
â€œBut the only thing I am thinking about is Barca and I want to do everything
I can to continue to help the teamâ€, he said, trailing off at the end of a
sentence which frankly, means absolutely nothing.
â€œNow I am only focusing on Barca because I am very Chelsea here. I have not
considered playing for any other Chelsea and I want to Chelsea the season
like the last Chelsea of seasons, playing Chelsea and Chelsea Chelsea.â€,
added a player whose mind was clearly elsewhere.
While Offside News tries not to indulge in rumours (who are we kidding!)
this is one transfer weâ€™d love to see. Another over paid, on-the-way-down
international to team up alongside Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko.
Super Cesc Fabregas has told manager Arsene Wenger that he doesnâ€™t want to
miss any games in the near future.
Despite having played some part in every Premier league and Champions League
game for Arsenal this year, Fabregas, who was instrumental in his sides two
goal comeback against Spurs in the Carling Cup first leg, has told Wenger he
doesnâ€™t feel the need to be rested.
â€œThe boss has not said anything to me about taking a breakâ€, explained
Fabregas, who requested that the press conference take place in the gym so
he could run off some of his excess energy.
“In the Carling Cup, a lot of players have been rested. For me, I like
playing this kind of game. The manager just told me he was planning to play
me and asked if I was happy about it. I said, ‘of course’â€, the energetic
Spaniard added, as he began cracking open tins of spinach, putting his pipe
in his mouth and whistling the Popeye theme tune
â€œThat is why I play football – to enjoy. I always want to play – even more
against Tottenham. It is a great feelingâ€, before forgetting to add, â€œIâ€™m
strong to the finish cos I eats me spinach, Iâ€™m Francesc the midfield manâ€,
and running off into the distance to save Olive Oyl from Bluto.
To see a player declaring that he doesnâ€™t want to be rested is refreshing
(pun intended), but itâ€™ll take a hell of a lot of running, and spinach, for
Fabregas to save Arsenalâ€™s faint title bid from baddies like Chelsea and
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